Screamers/March Time is a combination on CD of two classic Mercury Living Presence LPs by Frederick Fennell and the Eastman Wind Ensemble from 1962 and 1957. Screamers is a collection of circus marches and probably the best such compilation ever assembled. The only drawback with Screamers is that it doesn't contain Karl L. King's key circus march Barnum and Bailey's Favorite. In making these albums, Fennell always decided in favor of marches that he felt were musically substantive over considerations of popularity, and this steered him away from the standard "hits" in some instances. Nonetheless, King, the "king" of circus marches, is represented by no less than four of his finest works. Also present is the "ultimate" circus march, Julius Fucik's Thunder and Blazes in a performance so fast and energetic it will really get your blood boiling.
March Time consists of military marches, focusing mainly on the estimable work of Edwin Franko Goldman, who hadn't been dead two years when this was recorded on October 16, 1957. The six Goldman marches featured here are terrific, but the real gem on March Time is Fennell's magnificent performance of David Wallace Reeves' Second Regiment, Connecticut National Guard March, a nineteenth-century march beloved of composer Charles Ives and quoted extensively by him in his orchestral piece Decoration Day. Hearing Fennell deliver the Reeves' piece in this driving, intense performance might help Ives enthusiasts understand what it was about this march that so captured the composer's imagination, and certainly there has never been a better recording of it.
These were truly the golden years for Fennell and the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the performances are of such outstanding quality that these recordings have only seldom been out of print, even within the LP era itself. Both complete Mercury Living Presence LPs of Screamers and March Time are presented on CD with no track held back, achieving a total running time of 65:50.